November 10, 2010

West Virginia, Why I Do This Job, etc.

Skirt. Coffee. Candy. Doneanddone.

As the above is preettttyyy much what my life looks like everyday, I would like to share something that reached out an grabbed me lately.

This is a tale of sisterhood.
Of the girls in blue and white.

West Virginia Wesleyan College
Gamma Kappa Chapter
Buckhannon, WV

Tuesday was not a good day. I've NEVER been so mentally, physically, and emotionally below empty from sleeping about 4-5 hours a night, hop-skotching over time zones, and endorsing the workaholic syndrome I've always nursed. It was like the formal recruitment exhaustion-hangover that sorority girls get times, like, oh I dunno... FOUR MONTHS.

My mind was on Friday, 'cause for the first time since August, I get to see my Mama, Daddy, sister, dogs, and sweet city (Auburn included in that region, duhhh wareaglebeatGeorgia.) And standing alone in Washington Dulles Airport on Tuesday, it all started coming down: I really. wanna. go home. now.

But the plane I hopped on was northern-bound to West Virginia. So I landed. And in the airport waiting on my sisters, the phone rang. "Ash, where are you?" "I just landed in uh, um... (looking around for a non-existant sign) yeah, I have no clue. I forgot. Some town in West Virginia." Yup. I was that airport snob. If it wasn't Montgomery, I did not particularly care in that moment.

But then it started. "Ashlyn? Hey, I'm Chera..." The sweetest little voice, and looked up to find an adorable grinning stranger. Who took me "home" to 56 more grinning strangers. Who loved me simply because I wear the same diamond-shaped badge they do. That's it. That was the only requirement.

They took me straight to the doctor to get drops for  the random pink-eye I woke up with Monday.
And hung out with me in the waiting room.
And then took me to WalMart to pay $60 for 1/16 tsp of drops.
They bought me dinner, saying "I know you're a vegetarian, what do you want?"
They actually asked if I had any laundry they could do for me.
They took a white, cinder-block dorm room and decorated it.
There is a stack of 15 shiny, glossy magazines.
There are posters all over the walls.
Stuffed animal lions and lettered pillows on furniture.
"We just thought it must be hard traveling and wanted to make it homey!"
There are Teddy Grahams, Reeses, and a zillion other snacks spread out.
The folded towels and put a bow around them. A bow.
Someone. put. FLOWERS. in here.
Lillies, in fact.
For a 3 1/2 day visit.
They went through all that.
For a girl they'd never laid eyes on.
"We Live For Each Other," we say.
And they did.

The West Virginia Wesleyan College girls have no idea, but on that Tuesday night, more than anything this year--I needed a home. So, so badly. And this house, this amazing sorority, is weirdly somehow my "home" no matter what campus I'm on.

And this is why I do this job. Why I pull 15-hour shifts. Why I lug 126 lbs. of stuff around America by myself. Why I hardly ever talk to my friends back home on a normal schedule.

Because I meet women like this every day.

All day.

And for every woman I've met this year, you're helping shape who I am as a person more than I ever imagined you'd do. I thought that was my job, ha. But you've shown me up. And I will never be the same.

"More than a ritual or a symbol, that it is a way of life..."


  1. Such an amazing post, Ashlyn! I know that you will be happy to see your family, just as I know they can't wait to see you!
    Have a great day and get well!

  2. Home isn't where your body is, eSa! It's where your heart is! I am so glad gamma kappa took care of you!

  3. What a great post! This brought a tear to my eye thinking about the bonds of sisterhood. And I am sure you are so excited to see your sweet family and cheer on Auburn!

  4. I've been following your blog for a while now. I was an ADPi and considered being a consultant. Looks like a lot of fun yet a lot of work. I'm sure you will look back at this as an amazing experience.

  5. What an amazing and loving group of girls, sounds like they were exactly what you needed.
    I love reading your blog, the adventure that is your life is just fascinating!

    PS. I hope your eye is better! :)

  6. As always, you're an inspiration, sweet girl. Praying for ya through your travels. :)

  7. Tears!! You brought me to tears! I'm praying for you! :)


  8. This was a great post and although I don't have the same sorority affiliation, I appreciated the sentiments so much. Its wonderful to hear stories like this and I wish you all the best on the adventure you have in front of you!

  9. We're so glad to have you! Thank you for visiting us and offering your insight and guidance. <> <3 Jackie

  10. Hello Miss Journalism Major aka Ashlyn,

    This is amazingly wonderful and I'm so glad that I have been able to cross paths with you. Not only have you put a joy in my heart, but you have been an inspiration to our chapter. As I have been talking to many of the sisters, I have heard the most sincere things and I know your time has been well spent. I find it so amazing that everything worked out here for you and that we have maybe left a footprint on your life. As you depart today, it may seem sad, but it isn't because you were here and these days happened. I'm so thankful that I met you just shortly after your arrival and get to be the final person to meet with you and the final person to say goodbye. I know home is calling you and you will be excited to go, but we will miss you so much. No matter the hardship that comes your way, a sister is never far away. <3


  11. As a alumna of WVWC Gamma Kappa chapter, I'm so proud of my sisters. Good luck to you in the remainder of your travels!

    Thanks so much for sharing!


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